Title: Once in May (Nortown #3)
Author: Ofelia Gränd
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Release Date: September 1st 2016
Page Count: 164
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.50 stars out of 5
In an attempt to run from his past, John has spent the last few years building walls around himself. He knows the best way to stay safe is to keep people at arm’s length or preferably out of sight. During weak moments, he might wish he had someone, but he’s not ready. After all, it takes seven years for the body to replace all its cells. He has four years to go before he even can think about being around people.
Zachary is always on the move, always on his way to somewhere. He’s going from job to job, from country to country. Contrary to what people might think, he wants nothing more than to find a place to call home, and he knows just where. This time, he is ready. This time, he will stay in Nortown. But when he arrives to buy the log cabin he thought would be his, he finds it inhabited. When he goes to talk to the new owner, he is met by the most beautiful green eyes followed by a door slammed in his face.
John should’ve known the peace he had found in Nortown wouldn’t last. One day everything was fine, the next a mountain of a man starts showing up wherever he goes. All Zachary wants is to be close to the quiet man who has moved into his cabin. If following him around is the only way, then so be it. Sooner or later, John will get used to having him there…at least, if Zachary hangs around long enough.
Remember when Once in a Snowstorm came out back in December, how we used to laugh and joke about the overused MM tropes and swoon over beardy, hot lumberjacks? Yeah, that’s over now. Not the lumberjacks. We still have those. But the laughing and joking is gone, and I’m still wondering how it happened.
Poor John. When I first met him in Once in a Forest, I just knew he had suffered in the past, but damn…It was worse than I expected. I’ll let you figure out for yourself what happened to him, but keep in mind that there is abuse involved.
The important thing is that the author does not focus in the past. There are non-graphic references to past domestic violence, but it’s the present that matters. And the fact that John is a hot mess with severe social anxiety, and feels threatened by everything and everyone. EVERYONE is out to get John, or so he thinks.
And then there’s Zach. Zachary is my personal favorite lumberjack in the whole series. Well, not a lumberjack per se, but he chops wood and it’s important!
Zack is a drifter. He moves from place to place, not because he wants to, but because he wants to find a home so bad, he’s burning with this need. And that’s why he came back to Nortown. So, Zack feels like he doesn’t belong, and John feels so dirty, he just doesn’t know how to be. How can these two be together? Oh but they can, and they will. And it was so beautiful! Zack is such a patient and sweet
The steam level is low in this one but I felt that it really fitted the story. As for the ending, I consider it to be a HFN. John has a long way to go. IMO he needs therapy, and -thank God-the author didn’t give Zack a magic dick. So, the end might not be all hearts and flowers (it would have been fake), but it’s real and steamy, sweet and so hopeful.
This addition was a far cry from the funny and light first book, but it was my personal favorite. I’m hoping for a story about Timothy and Chris! And I’d really like to see Zack and John a few months or even years later.